An Interview with Karan Jain, Co-Founder, HROne, the man behind the vision of simplifying and automating HR functions to build better workplaces

Q: Tell us about HROne, how important is technology for HROne?

A: HROne is an HCM Suite that was born in the cloud after extensive analysis of consumer-centric applications and how they solve problems for their customers. Over the last six years, we are proud to have successfully delivered on our vision to bring this consumer centricity to the HCM space – and technology has been a key dimension of this journey for us. We bet big on automation, because we believe that this technology has long arrived at the peak of its maturity, and is poised to deliver immense strategic and financial benefits to our customers.

However, we understand that technology alone does not solve the challenges that surface in the typical workdays of HR professionals. In fact, a key aspect of problem solving is the ability to empathise with our end users, understand workflows from their perspective, and rethink long established processes from the purview of today’s technological capabilities. Of course, it is the underlying technology that makes it possible for us to curate a human-centric experience for our customers’ HR teams – but what’s also important, is how we apply that technology, to achieve strategic gains for the users.

Finally, technology also plays a key role in helping us orchestrate operations at HROne. We have adopted cloud and SaaS solutions to enable seamless collaboration, and our digital-first approach to our workplace powers an impeccable employee experience to our hybrid teams. This helps us innovate our platform at pace, and deliver smooth implementation and support experiences to our customers and users.


Q: In this age, how important is it for organisations to simplify and automate their HR functions?

A: That’s a good question, because automating the HR function is as important as simplifying it from the user’s perspective, according to us. Today, the employee lifecycle is becoming shorter, and HR teams are overburdened with hundreds of items on their to-dos everyday. In addition, hybrid work has led to platform fatigue, which gets worse when employees are stuck with repetitive tasks that their machine counterparts should be doing.

We are already seeing organisations struggle with filling longstanding vacancies in a heated talent market, and suboptimal execution of core HR workflows leads to a trickle-down effect on employee experience. Automation is therefore not just important, it is an urgent imperative that should be at the top of every CHRO’s agenda today.

From what we have seen our customers achieve through the adoption of HROne, we can definitively say that automation should be viewed as an opportunity that significantly impacts the efficiency and productivity of HR teams, and ultimately elevates the organisational culture in key areas like diversity, inclusivity, and the experience of shared purpose amongst employees.


Q: Does the new age hybrid model demand more high-end tech HR solutions?

A: Absolutely, especially in light of some of the unique challenges that have surfaced in the HCM space over the last couple of years. Today, organisations are competing in the talent market through unique employee value propositions, and the nexus of power has clearly shifted in favour of the employee. What has also become clear in this evolving dynamic, is that employees don’t just want bigger packages and monetary incentives – they want to belong at the workplace, feel valued and respected, and treated fair and square.

Legacy HCM tools were not designed to fit in this context – they were simply built to digitise workflows for efficiency. Today, technologies like cloud computing, automation, and AI represent significant opportunities for cost takeout, and can free up HR teams to tackle the above mentioned challenges. In other words, leading HCM solutions of today are the key to bringing the human back to human capital management and operations.

Lastly, I would also like to add that some problems unique to hybrid models don’t require high-end tech, but simply an empathetic approach to the end user. For example, empowering HR teams to accomplish their tasks on multiple devices across platforms can inject much-needed responsiveness and speed to HR workflows, and such interventions bring significant experience improvements for the organisation.


Q: What advice would you give to new-age entrepreneurs while they set up their businesses?

A: I’d like to tell them that pushing oneself to their maximum potential is not an easy thing to do as an entrepreneur. What we often see reiterated across social media and the internet are success stories, and this can trigger a chain of comparisons between you and those successful entrepreneurs that you compare yourself to. But the truth is, success is just a milestone in the entrepreneurial journey, and it is inevitably preceded by failures and setbacks. The key is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and to stay committed to that dream that convinced you to become an entrepreneur in the first place.

When I look back, I recall that the process of building HROne was never a linear one – like any other entrepreneur, I did numerous experiments to build a product that would ultimately achieve its envisioned potential. So, brainstorm, solve problems, scrap something that’s not working, and create something new. As an entrepreneur, you cannot stop at a certain point, at an age criteria, or at some milestone. I like to think big, and I believe in the habit of achieving serial success.

That is what I’d like to tell every entrepreneur out there – adopt a billion-dollar mindset, because success is 80% mindset and 20% strategy. Tomorrow, when you wake up, don’t think about your setbacks or your failures – think about what makes you tick, and stay authentic to your true self and no one will be able to stop you from turning your visions into reality.


Q: You recently received a big investment – tell us about that. What do you plan to do with the investment and where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

A: That’s right, we have received $4mn in investments from Insitor Partners and Prudent Investment Managers. We aim to utilise the Series A funding to achieve few of our major objectives-

  • Strengthening our data analytics capabilities to help CXOs make data-driven decisions
  • Facilitate deeper integrations with workplace tools to drive frictionless user experience
  • Drive expansion into newer and existing markets
  • Introduce new product capabilities using next-gen technologies
  • Invest in our talent pool
  • Drive a superior customer experience

We will continue to focus on growing and sustaining our Indian market share. The Indian market has immense potential in terms of market size and attractiveness. In the long term, once we are able to meet our desired market share in the Indian geo, we will activate our international expansion plans.


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